Trinity University takes pride in creating innovative classes by combining different fields. One example is EDUC-4341-1: Workshop in Education- Story Lab. Dr. Habiba Noor, a qualitative researcher and education professor, worked with sociology professor Dr. Kaufman, history professor Dr. Turek, and modern language professor, Dr. Cantú, and created a class that presented a new approach to research. Students qualitatively and anonymously gathered data to create compelling narratives via social media. We sat down with Dr. Noor to discuss this unique class.
Q: How did this course form and why were you interested in teaching it?
Dr. Noor: Typically, research is processed and turned into academic journal articles, but we felt that the interviews were so powerful and could create plays and narratives. Story Lab was Dr. Kaufman's brainchild and she wanted to keep thinking about connecting storytelling with research.
Q: Can you tell me about the course content, what it covered?
Dr. Noor: We started the semester by reading about an issue. Last semester, we read about how critical race theory (CRT) became a controversial movement and how this is reflective of other movements in history. Then, we trained students to come up with research questions. The last section is to think about the big takeaways. Each student came from a different angle because they had different interests.
Q: The structure of this class is really interesting. Why did you decide to have students write the project on Twitter instead of a research paper, and have students tell a story instead of presenting their findings?
Dr. Noor: Because this issue has been unfolding the last year, a lot of the discussion takes place on social media. And we thought “why not contribute to this conversation”. It’s also a writing exercise because how can someone create an idea in that short space– it’s challenging. After the panels, our students summarized their research in podcasts, which was really cool. Each student did a 15-minute bit explaining their findings.
Q: Why is this course important for you to teach and be a part of?
Dr. Noor: Well, I like the fact that it centers on undergraduate research. It puts investment into learning and makes it more bountiful.
Q: What is your favorite part of the course?
Dr. Noor: Definitely putting together a public panel. This creates a very authentic experience for all the students involved, where they own their project. It's not about a grade or a paper, it's about the feeling that they are doing this correctly.
Q: What do you hope your students walk away with after completing this class?
Dr. Noor: Our hope is that students can understand how every word matters. How can we say things in a way that other people would not be triggered by? I also want them to develop a community of people who have been through something together and see themselves as a scholar.
Q: What is the future of this class?
Dr. Noor: It'll be starting fresh. The next semester will be on something related to CRT, but we might have a more focused area of analysis.
Hopefully we can catch up with Dr. Noor next semester to see how this class unfolds. It may be very different, but one thing stays the same: “the content, even if it’s old, is emotional” (Dr. Noor, 2022).
If you are interested in becoming an education minor, contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The final projects of EDUC 4341 have been posted and available for public listen at the following site: https://crtfallout.buzzsprout.com/